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Hungary's President Áder re-elected for second five-year term after sharply critical speech by challenger Majtényi

Hungary's president Janos Ader has comfortably won another five years in office following a parliamentary vote. The 57-year-old's re-election was widely expected, despite a second round run-off.

A long-time member of Hungary's ruling Fidesz party and ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, 131 lawmakers voted in favour of extending his term as president.
Challenger László Majtényi, with near unanimous support of the political opposition, failed in his bid to replace Áder, who, with the support of the Fidesz-KDNP coalition's majority in parliament, won easily in a second round of voting.
The first round requires a two-thirds majority for a nominee to be elected president. Fidesz-KDNP's 131 votes were two short of that supermajority, so Áder would have had to win the votes of at least two opposition MPs to win the election in the first round. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Politics Can Be Different (LMP), Democratic Coalition (DK) and Dialogue for Hungary (PM) all pledged their support for the challenger Majtényi, a former ombudsman and current director of the political think-tank Eötvös Károly Institute, bringing his parliamentary support to 43 members. Radical right-wing party Jobbik, advocating a direct presidential election, did not participate in the parliamentary vote.
The first round resulted in 131 votes for Áder, only two votes shy of a first-round victory. Only once since Hungary's transition to parliamentary democracy has a president been elected in the first round of voting, when Árpád Göncz did so with overwhelming support in 1990. This is also the first presidential vote since Hungary's parliament was reduced from 386 to 199 members in 2014.
In the second round of voting, a simple majority was enough to confirm Áder as president, which the Fidesz-KDNP delegations achieved easily with 131 votes to Majtényi's 39 (opposition party DK abstained from voting in the second round, cutting Majtényi's first-round vote total of 43.)
Prior to the casting of the anonymous ballots, both candidates were granted 15-minute speeches before the National Assembly. The two men gave distinctly different addresses. Majtényi focused on his conceptions of the role of the president within government as well as the importance of open, well-functioning institutions in defending democracy and constitutionalism, while President Áder spent nearly half of his speech describing a minor resolution adopted in 2013 in the Serbian parliament. Áder also praised Hungarian inventions and innovations, and warned of the dangers of climate change, but did not make any references to what he hoped to achieve if elected to serve a second presidential term.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 08:31

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